About Val Hemminger:
In over 25 years of practice I had happy clients and got results. Yet, I was mostly overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious with no time for myself or my family. Due to a bad real estate decision in 2009, I had financial problems to boot.
I also had zero idea that I had undiagnosed ADHD.
After years of struggling, I read tons of business books, I got a great business coach, I learned about running a profitable business. I have successfully built my law practice. Read more BELOW about my story or watch the video on the right.Have a virtual coffee with Val
So here's my story...
Law school teaches us sweet "f-all" about how to run a business or law practice. When I opened my own law practice more than two decades ago, I had no idea how to run a business effectively. I also had no idea what I was getting into. Whoa, it has been a freaking hard ride.
Like many lawyers, I thought if I worked hard, everything would all turn out. I knew I was smart enough, and I knew I would do my best. Before becoming a lawyer, being smart and working hard was a great strategy that worked. It got me into law school, and it had me pass my bar exams (we call it different where I live, but you get the idea). Being smart and working hard, does not, however, work for running a profitable law practice.
When I first opened my firm, I did not know how to attract clients. I had no idea how to manage my client files successfully. I had no clue about systems and procedures. My profits were terrible and at times, non-existent.
Things got even worse when in 2009 I purchased a piece of property for my law firm. I could not afford it. Then the financial struggles really began. For years, my life totally sucked. I mean really sucked beyond measure.
I worked 10+ hour days but I was still broke. I was miserable.
I was insolvent and was desperately unhappy. I had health problems, problems with the Law Society, and a shattered home life.
I also had undiagnosed ADHD.
I did not understand why so much of my life was not working.
Because I am someone to take responsibility, I read a ton of business books, took marketing training, hired a business coach, and learned a ton about running a profitable business. I learned a ton about personal development, and commenced a dedicated spiritual practice.
Despite my spiritual practice and disciplines, I was also anxious and overwhelmed a lot of the time. As a result, I also self-medicated. I really wanted some of the constant anxiety I felt to go away. I wanted to feel better. A lawyer I know (yes she is an asshole) reported me to my Law Society that I was “taking drugs” and drinking tequila all day long at work. The tequila allegation is absolute BS of course (and yes, for all of the work I do with my forgiveness practice, sometimes I do still feel like strangling her for lying to the Law Society about me). I must be present and at my absolute BEST for my clients when doing client work.
I did, however, occasionally take (unprescribed) Dexedrine. It helped me focus and reduced my anxiety. Dexedrine is a medication that is often prescribed for people with ADHD.
Because of the allegation that I was taking drugs and drinking at work (BS, like I said), a friend I know, who has ADHD, recommended I see a specialist so I could get assessed.
In late 2020 the ADHD specialist I saw said I had ADHD and it was “off the charts.” He has prescribed medication called Vyvanse and it has been life-changing! ‘
The ADHD specialist also said I was an anomaly because I had great coping skills. So much of my life was working (all that business stuff, my spiritual practice, and the personal development stuff I was learning).
Even with my undiagnosed and untreated ADHD, I created a multiple 6- Figure Law Practice. I do it ethically and without gouging my clients. Being a great family law lawyer is about more than knowing the law and being a great advocate (although that is important too). It is about making your entire practice run smoothly. It is about having structures and systems to have satisfied and happy clients every time.
And another thing, I do not fit the “usual” stereotype of being a lawyer. Think of the show called “Suits” and that is definitely not me. I know I don’t fit the model of what people think a lawyer should act like or look like (thank Gawd for that!). Maybe you are like that too.
I don't wear suits unless I have to for court. I wear running shoes most days (unless actually in court).
Before my ADHD diagnosis I used to self-medicate and was totally open about it. I am gregarious and silly. I don’t take myself too seriously. I like to have a lot of fun.
If the test to being a great divorce lawyer is that you appear calm all the time, are well put together with the best suits, and you stay distant and objective about your clients’ issues, then I am definitely NOT a great divorce lawyer.
If the test to being a great divorce lawyer is that I get great results for my clients, avoid court whenever possible, do not gouge my clients for fees, am transparent about my billings, and that my clients rave about my work and recommend me to friends and family, then I AM a very successful divorce lawyer.
What kind of lawyer are you?
Maybe you are a bit weird too and still want to do great work.
That is why I am dedicated to showing you what I have learned, so you don’t have to spend all that time struggling. You can learn from my mistakes and what I have spent years creating. I have done it not only for the benefit of the next generation of family law lawyers (I call them baby lawyers, and they are soooo cool these days) but also for the benefit of the families we serve.
Because this is what I know: Being a divorce lawyer doesn’t have to suck!